It starts with curiosity, leads to conformity and ends with emotions. Such is the case with Khalid Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’ which is based on fiction but seems so accurate to be rooted in facts. There had been a huge hullabaloo around the fiction book by the Afghan writer and after having gone through the piece, I am among those blowing its trumpet with unwavering confidence.
The novel narrates the tale of an Afghan boy who was brought up by a single parent, his super rich father. The boy named Amir wades through life along with his servant-cum-friend Hassan. Both share a commonality that they have lost their mother. Amir lost her mother Sanaubar while she delivered him while Hassan lost his mother when she fled, with rumours that she was a dancer. They are not identical in many ways. While Amir is soft and timid, the traits despised by his father, Hassan – who happens to be Hazara by ethnicity – is athletic and brave.
Both the boys grow up in Afghanistan which was a peaceful geographic area in that time. The rich boy shares precious moments with the poor one; however, in one of the incidents when Hassan chases the kite, he is left in the lurch and is subjected to sexual assault. This incident, to which Amir is an eyewitness, impacts Amir whole life decades after decades. The name of the novel is driven from the same event.
Years pass by and the influential family has to leave Afghanistan due to law and order situation. They somehow end up in the US and start living a prosperous life but Amir still recalls the moments spent in Afghanistan.
One day he lands in Pakistan to meet his father’s long-term friend Rahim Khan who tells him that the poor boy Hassan was actually his half brother. The sacred image of Amir’s father in his mind shatters at the very moment but he proceeds to find out his half brother only to know that he was killed, leaving behind a son named Sohrab.
Amir then takes on the courage to land in Afghanistan and to free Sohrab, his half brother’s son from the clutches of Taliban. During the bid to get Sohrab free, he comes face to face with Assef, the man he despised a lot during childhood. Amir gets involved in a brawl with Assef in who’s custody Sohrab was present. At this point, there is a whirlwind of emotions when one gets to know that Assef had raped Hassan and now he was the same guy subjecting Hassan’s son to sexual assault.
He is successful in getting Sohrab free from Assef but the story takes an interesting twist when Amir is told that he cannot take away Sohrab to the US without fulfilling codal formalities which seem next to impossible. Amir is himself childless and his wife Soraya is ready to adopt Sohrab but the journey from Afghanistan to US seems as tough as easy is the journey from US to Afghanistan.
Nonetheless, after betrayal, survival and a suicide attempt, Sohrab is taken to the US where he starts living with Amir and Soraya but somehow, the boy prefers to keep mum most of the times.
The most attractive aspect about the novel is the fact that the the Kite Runner was Khalid Hosseini’s debut novel in 2004 and he bagged tremendous success with his opening shot.
We normally say that what happens in Afghanistan does not stay in Afghanistan. Same is the case with Hosseini’s novel, the popularity of which transcends borders.
The Kite Runner Author
Khalid Hosseini is the author of the stellar novel. He has bagged multiple distinctions and awards due to his work. Other notable additions of the writer to literature include Sea prayer published in 2018, A thousand splendid suns published in 2008, and the Mountains Echoed in 2014.
Khalid lives in the Northern California with his wife and two children. His father was a diplomat posted in Paris but as soon as they had to return back to Afghanistan, bloodshed erupted in the country, prompting them to seek asylum in the US.
The Kite Runner Characters
Amir is the main character narrating the story. Hassan is his friend cum servant who’s father’s name is Ali. Baba is the father of Amir who was a wealthy businessman.
Sohrab is the son of Hassan and Farzana. The later part of the book revolves around him and is drenched in emotions. While sifting through these pages one realizes as to what extent one can be helpless in life to become a rolling stone.
Assef is the most evil of all in the novel. He is based in Afghanistan and grows from being a bully to firstly the rapist of Hassan and then his son Sohrab.
Rahim Khan is Amir’s Baba’s best friend who spends time with him and discusses almost all the issues with him late at night.
Soraya is the wife of main character Amir in the novel. She is the daughter of General Taheri who resides in the US but still upholds Afghan traditions.